My first escorted tour was through Israel in 2012. Before this time, everything I'd heard about escorted tours was negative: you will be sitting on a bus the whole day, you won't be able to go to the sites you want to see, it's too much money, etc. But as I prepare for my 3rd tour. I'd like to dispel some myths about the subject. If you find yourself answering YES to the following questions, then an escorted tour just might be right up your alley! (click to see sample itinerary)
Overlooking the Old City: 2012 Israel Tour
1. Do you have little vacation time but you want to see a lot?
It's very doable when you have a dedicated driver for the week, a set schedule and a pass to skip ALL the lines at every site (which can have up to a 2 hour wait each!). Not only will you see the standard tourist attractions, but you will have local experiences you might not have known was possible: Like touring the Western Wall from the underground tunnels or a cooking demonstration in a local's home.
2. Do you like to save money?
Last month I had a request for a custom 3 city tour package for a client. It included only the flights, hotels and train tickets to each city. By shifting their original dates by 3 days, I was able to save them money by booking into an escorted package that also includes an expert local guide, entrance into various sites, most meals/drinks, and deluxe private transportation. An escorted tour can save you up to 40% versus booking individual components separately.
3. Do you like cruises or all inclusive resorts?
Piggy-backing off of #2 - Many of us prefer to pay for our vacation and then not worry about being nickel and dimed to death once you are on the trip. Dinner here, bus ticket there, museum tickets tomorrow... this starts to add up quickly! Your out of pocket expenses are minimal on escorted tours.
Drinking blue wine in Tuscany: 2014 Italy Tour
4. Do you like VIP treatment?
From the moment you step off the plane you will be treated like royalty! Other than "be ready at 9am", I didn't really have to think much on past tours - the planning was done, all I had to do was just enjoy! I can hear someone scoffing while reading this because you don't want to be on someone else's schedule lol. Yes, there is a schedule, but there is also scheduled downtime. You can break away from the group to do what you choose and your expert guide can offer suggestions if you need ideas!
5. Does the fear of the unknown prevent you from going to some places?
Well, have no fear! Your common concerns are no issue:
Language barrier - your local expert guide will be an English speaker
Hotel Quality - accommodations have been vetted and approved by the tour company
Safety - if there are concerns, your guide will make adjustments to your itinerary as needed
I'm personally sold and believe 100% that escorted tours are a great way to experience new countries and make new friends along the way! For more information or to receive a quote contact me!